15 – The Threat of a Rift
The sounds of sleeping can be heard from all around.
My bed is soft with its characteristic mysterious canopy, but more than that, it’s big.
I suppose it’s better to say it’s spacious.
If you wanted, you could live on it.
And on top of that bed right now are the kids.
Looks like they got more attached to me than I thought…but that’s not all.
Even though they look lively and cheerful, these girls were passed around by villains and lost their homes.
There will be times when anxiety, fear, and loneliness will overwhelm them inexplicably.
Back when I was with the Saviors, even if we protected those children, they would be given over to the care of other people.
Even now, the Demon King Army does its best to take care of them.
If just being near me allows them to sleep peacefully, then I don’t mind.
Definitely not because I fell for them asking「Can we sleep together…?」with big puppy eyes.
I gently peel off the rabbit-eared Carro who slept while clinging to me, wipe the tears off the eyes of kids who were crying while they slept, and gently pat the backs of those who were having a nightmare.
I check on the girls and then get out of bed.
Then, I pulled out Mika from her Demon King Army-issued pedestal that I have no idea when it was prepared.
It looks like a big rock that Mika is stuck into.
『Looks like they’re close.』
We quietly left the room and continued our conversation softly.
『Did the War God notice your movements?』
I tried my best to avoid the five of them, but there’s no fooling that guy.」
As Eleanor promised, I’m free to do as I please.
While I know that there are good demons, there is still the threat of bad ones that threaten their surroundings.
I only longed for a normal life.
It doesn’t mean that I hate the mission of the Saviors.
Anyway, I’ve been going out night after night, sometimes in the afternoon, to beat up dangerous guys and save those in trouble.
『Today is…ah, as expected, the Demon King Army noticed it too.』
「That’s cos it’s close to their country.
I did it on my own during the day, but I’m thinking of telling Eleanor before I go this time.」
『Reflecting on your mistakes like a good kid.』
『I’m praising you.
I said like a good kid.』
It was something I saw a while ago.
A child in his garden was climbing a tree, but then a branch broke off and he fell.
I happened to see it happen.
He wasn’t hurt, but his dad ran towards him and was furious.
The kid apologized while in tears, and the dad hugged his kid with an expression of relief once he realized the kid wasn’t hurt.
Fail, reflect, improve.
So this is also an ordinary experience for a kid.
「In the beginning, I failed a lot of my magic training.」
『It was magic for fighting… It’s different from today’s magic.
But, you did well to endure the training without letting out a single complaint.
No matter what you were told, you just answered with「Got it.」.
You didn’t talk much with me at first…』
「Well, I just didn’t care.」
I was tossed aside as a baby, so I don’t have any memory of my parents, but to put it another way, they didn’t need me, right?
The orphanage was full of kids like that, and even among them, there were different groups or hierarchies.
It’s hard to hold on to the hope of life in an environment like that.
There was no room to imagine things like a bright future.
It probably differs depending on the institute, but mine was like that.
So when I got the Crest of the Hero, I didn’t think anything about how the adults at the orphanage were excitedly talking about『How much could we get for selling Rain?』.
In the end, the five Saviors found me fast, so their plan to sell me to who knows where failed.
『…You got out of a situation like that and made it this far.』
「Maybe it’s cos I have a chatty partner like you.」
『Idio-…! I’m just a bad sword that went along with those five, so I’m not worthy of such praise…』
「I already said I forgive you for that… We’re here.」
We cut off our conversation as I stood in front of a door.
As I knock on the door, I could sense that those inside were surprised.
I got found out in hide-and-seek quickly, but if I really wanted to hide my presence, I could.
「Still… I got found in hide-and-seek so quickly…」
『…I know, geez.
You’re really annoyed by that, huh?』
I open the door and enter…the conference room.
Aside from the Demon King and the Big Four, there were several other demons all sitting around a table.
The Demon King, father of Myuri and her brother whose name I learned was Frip, honestly feels pretty intimidating.
Like he could rip a dragon’s neck to shreds with one arm.
A presence like he could explode an Orc with a flick to the forehead.
「My my, if it isn’t Rain.
Can’t sleep? Maybe it’s your pillow.
Papa will take care of it later.」
Also, I’m not calling you papa…
This old man was sad as hell that his eldest son, Frip, calls him father.
A wise king who rules a peaceful demon country.
「I’m sure he was tormented by the sleeping postures of the children.
Oh, how sad… Also, I am somewhat envious of those children… Even I have yet to… to have the chance to witness the visage of Sir Rain’s sleeping face…」
It was Eleanor.
Even in the dead of night, her beautiful silver hair does not lose its luster.
『From what I can see, people from the group of seven, other than silver tits, are here too.』
I think there are at least three of them in here.
I can kinda tell by the stares I’m getting.
The Big Four are here, made up of two men and two women, along with a few other people who I guess are necessary for this discussion.
「Well then, Sir Hero.
You may be his Highness’s guest, but what would you require at such an hour?」
It’s a lion Beastman.
I recall him being one of the Big Four.
His mana isn’t very high, but he’s the warrior type anyway.
This is the kinda guy that avoids attacks using his intuition and sense.
I’d hate to go up against him.
What’s worse is the sheer power that’d be put into a single strike.
「Right, I usually try to not get involved, but today, I think we have the same target.」
The air in the conference room became tense.
「Wha-wh-wh-whatever do you mean, Rain? Papa and the others were just discussing tomorrow’s menu.」
『Calling you a terrible liar would be an understatement.』
If he’s telling the truth, then this truly is a peaceful country.
「Sir Rain… I appreciate your feelings, truly.
But as I promised you, we shall never make use of your powers as a Hero.」
Said Eleanor, sadly.
Not once since I came to this country have I been asked to do this or that.
Rifts are gates that connect this world to Makai.
They are natural occurrences that have happened since ancient times.
Demon beasts would trickle out and groups of adventurers would have to subjugate them.
The problem is that strong people from Makai took note of this and tried to open a massive artificial Rift.
It was due to the success of that that the world is as it is now.
But, this Rift is a big one, right?」
The people of this country are so kind that they never once thought to utilize me.
Even with the appearance of a big Rift, they planned to settle it without relying on me.
「There’s still one more promise.
That I’m free to do what I want, right? But, this is the Demon Territory, so I came to ask first.」
I look over at everyone.
「I want to clean up the Rift because I want to.
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